Signs of Sleep Deprivation or Sleeplessness

Learn what are the results of sleep deprivation are. Due to sleeplessness, you will reach to a bad mood to illusion and difficulty in thinking and several other problems. The other problems are defined below.


Quite intriguing but for sure, the sleep patterns have an effect on our health. Acne, the bumpy and unwanted spots, can be due to improper sleep or not enough rest. It has been studied that sleep deprivation leads to the eruption of acne as a sign to recognize the cause and help you tackle the issue. Sleep has an effect on some hormones of our body and going sleepless definitely affects those hormones. Along with hormonal imbalance, some chemical imbalance takes place, leading to pimples, especially on the nose and on the face.

Puffy Eyes and Dark Circles:

The face is the indication of general health. Being without sleep tells so by the weariness on your face. Studies show that the parts of the face such as the eyes, forehead, mouth, etc., show up the sleeplessness you have experienced the last night. More importantly, puffy eyes and dark under circles of the eyes are an indication of inadequate sleep.

Though, of course, dark circles need not necessarily be due to sleep loss but is one of the indicators contributing to such cause. A study of women, about 200 participants, who experienced dark circles or periorbital hyper-pigmentation, showed that 40% of them suffer from inadequate sleep and therefore, insomnia or sleeplessness.

In other research, observers notice the faces of participants and rate the participants’ faces accordingly. The observers gave the photos of participants to observe. The photos were taken after the participants had slept for a whole night. Another photo was taken soon after the participant had slept for 5 hours and followed by 31 hours of being awake. The observers easily made out the fully rested faces from those that had less sleep of 5 hours. Most of the fully rested faces showed youthfulness, alertness and also being attractive. Whereas, in those who had 5 hours of sleep, the observers made note of puffy eyes and dark under-circles – a sign of inadequate sleeplessness. The sleepless faces always expressing a state of sadness. This shows that if you are in the bed when it is bedtime, you will have a good night sleep and the next day will be exuberating with a cheerful vibe.

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Sleep Loss may result in Weight Gain:

If you found your weight increasing, you also need to note that you are having trouble to sleep well. Sleeping less than 6 hours a night puts your body to disturbances, thereby increasing the risk of becoming obese. Let us see how sleeping for less time affects the body.

The chemistry of your body goes for a change as you start losing sleep. The more often that you feel hungry, it means the lesser you are sleeping and more the hormonal imbalance to disturb hunger patterns. Also, you start to become less sensitive to insulin which helps in absorbing the energy from carbohydrates and sugars.

In two different studies, the lab tests have confirmed these issues. As you sleep less, you tend to eat more and therefore, inclined to consume more carbohydrates. More carbohydrates lead to obesity and continuing to sleep less leads to having munch crunches. It becomes hard to resist snacks. Therefore, sleep well to avoid untimely snacks and thus, avoid becoming obese.

Craving Salt, Sugar, and Junk Food

As you get less sleep, you also get more tired in spite of binge eating on snacks. Getting tired leads to the craving for high-calorific foods which are loaded with sugar, salt, and fats, which explains the reason behind becoming obese.

Apart from getting obese, consuming too much sugar and salt creates further problems for your health. Too much sugar is associated with diabetes and too much salt is associated with heart disease. Other problems include kidneys failure and bone issues too. Therefore, sleep well to eat appropriately and take of your health.

Too Much Caffeine:

Coffee as such is an asleep depraving beverage. If you sleep less and habituate drinking coffee, the caffeine in the coffee will add to your woes of sleeplessness and cause untellable miseries. Another coffee in the morning to make you alert and awake will only cause further damage than any benefit.

A study was undertaken to know the effect of drinking coffee. Participants of the study were allowed only 5 hours of sleep continuously for 5 days. Some of the participants were given about 200mg or a cup of coffee and some were given a dummy or placebo. Soon it was evident. Participants with poor sleep but with placebo intake did not show any advantageous results pertaining to their alert levels.

Participants who had taken caffeine and also were sleep-deprived were initially in good mood for about two days and then their levels of cheerfulness change to being annoyed during the following days.

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Stress and Irritability:

Have you experienced the state of being, after one night’s poor sleep? Most of the people feel irritated, angered easily and stressed out a lot. The same thing observed during a study done under lab conditions. Scientists pertaining to sleep studies say that people having sleep problems or deprived of sleep emotionally exhausted, more sad and angrier than ever.

Sleeplessness, if not taken care of in the initial stages itself, can become a nasty recurrence. This may lead to you getting stress and it keeps you awake and alerts all the time, making your body to fight it out. If uncontrolled, insomnia becomes a permanent issue. It has been studied that insomnia can lead to panic disorder, a type of anxiety condition or anxious situation. In case you get into this cycle, better take the help of a mental health counselor who will help you address your sleep issues and mood problems too.

Feeling Down:

Another alarming condition arising out of sleeplessness is depression. If stress coupled with anxiety it eventually leads to getting depressed. Insomniacs are at five times the risk of developing depression. Another study shows that for every 4 depressed patients, 3 of them found affected with insomnia, which may, in fact, be higher too.

Scientists have conducted studies on the brainwaves of patients suffering from depression, during their sleep. The study showed that these patients experience less REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep and thus experienced disturbed sleep more often than usual. Once the depression is cured, issues with sleep may remain and if not taken care of, may pose a higher risk of relapse.

Memory Issues And Poor Concentration:

Sleeplessness can also lead to difficulty in concentration and thus memory issues. There are basically two phases of sleep. There is a link of memory with these phases of sleep. One is REM sleep which we have already seen is cause for depression if less REM sleep experienced. REM sleep relates to procedural memory, which relies upon to learn new things. The other phase is the non-REM sleep which associates with declarative memory. This type of memory used to recall any incidents or events or facts. Therefore, when your sleep disturbed, you are putting both your REMs at risk.

Insomnia coupled with disturbed sleep leads to low levels of concentration. Studies have shown a surprising fact that people without sleep, often boast themselves of higher concentration levels. Such lopsided perception by themselves is due to sleeplessness.

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Perception of Cold:

If you don’t want to get sick, then better get proper sleep. We have already seen that sleeping less than 6 hours can also lead to you catching a cold and other illness too. A study made over a week, involving 164 healthy men and healthy women. These men and women administered rhinovirus-infected nasal drops. Rhinovirus causes the common cold. 30% of the participants infected. These infected people slept less time and thus, it is 4 times more likely for a sleep-deprived person affected with cold. In another study, involving more number of women, those who slept for less than 6 hours contracted pneumonia.

This shows that your immune system is sleep or rest dependent. When asleep, your body produces a number of T-cells. These T-cells counter infections and help our body’s immune system to be responsive in different situations. Also, there are other immune cells that get released into the body, when asleep and give you extra protection to ward off any disease. Prolonged sleeplessness will lead to incapable of protection against any infection.

Mental Delusions And Irrational Distrust:

Paranoia and hallucinations can affect a person with insomnia, though not often. In a study, it observed that if you had sleep issues over a period of one month, you would have an increased experience of hallucinations by about 4%. This can go up to 8% if you are a chronic insomniac. The participants of this study did not experience any other mental issues. It had been noted that the odds of having other mental disorders increase due to anxiety and depression, also caused by sleeplessness. Another study confirmed that some degree of insomnia experienced by the participants suffering from paranoia.

Everything Hurts More:

Everybody feels pain at one point or the other; from joint pains to migraines, heartburn to backaches. If you happen to sleep less or do not sleep at all due to some reason, you are for sure to aggravate your pain.

Many studies conducted to assess the link between pain and less sleep. Sleeplessness in such situations can lead to headaches, chronic pain and fibromyalgia, deteriorating arthritis pain and other issues. Though the scientists haven’t found out the cause yet, it established now that there is a link between less sleep and aggravated pain.

Another painful situation is inflammation which also aggravated due to sleeplessness.

We have already seen how obesity is a cause for concern if you sleep less.

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More Impulsiveness:

Can’t you have control over yourself? There are many examples of people who have been ruining their lives due to overeating, addiction, gambling, and overspending. Study shows that one needs extra determination to make better decisions. To get that extra determination, you need to get yourself better sleep. Teenage misbehavior and other misbehavior that are impulsive in nature are all linked to sleeplessness.

It is impulsive to stay up late in the nights, which should be avoided, to get early to bed.


If we sleep better, our machine will work fine. Therefore, hit the bed when you feel sleepy. A study on doctors showed their inability to finish tasks properly, due to their 24-hour medical attendance. Due to sleeplessness for a period of 24 hours or more, one will feel drowsiness, thereby causing disorientation in hand to eye coordination. As a matter of fact, alcohol consumed intoxicated people are better off than those who are sleep deprived.

Vision Problems:

Are you in a work where your eyes need to be sharp? If yes, then you should be making sure to hit the bed by the bedtime. Studies have revealed that you will perform such vision-based tasks very poorly if you haven’t slept properly the previous night. Also, there is visual working memory, the brain’s ability to retain what needed as you work by looking at things that required for your work. Sleep deprivation, therefore, causes your mental inability for mathematical calculations, avoid distractions, receive and analyze instructions, etc. Therefore sleep well to perform well in vision-based duties or works.

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Dozing Off While Driving:

A very common cause of death is sleep driving similar to closing eyes due to sleepiness while driving. More than 70 million Americans are suffering from driving while feeling sleepy. At any point in time, it found that one in thirty drivers doze off while driving. Thus, many people are putting themselves along with their co-passengers in the risk of losing their lives or becoming disabled, due to being less sleeping the previous night.

Feeling sleepy at times while driving is common but very dangerous and sleeping off is but harmful. In case you come across a situation where you need to react sharply to overcome any impending danger, you will only commit a grave mistake to hurt yourself very badly. Estimates of more than 70,000 crash a year, according to the National Highway Administration, caused by drowsy drivers. More than 700 deaths occur at these crash sites. Apart from sleeplessness causing sleepiness at odd hours, like, while driving, some medication causes drowsiness and driving under such influence is worse than drowsy driving. Better take care not to drive if under such medication or if possible, better to drop taking the medicine and drive carefully.

Low Sex Drive:

Sleeplessness causes various problems as we have already seen. But a different kind of problem arises too; that of low sex drive. The human body produces testosterone, the hormone responsible for reproduction, especially during sleeping. Sleeping with REM is more useful for testosterone production. Any dearth of sleep only causes lack of any REM and therefore, lack of testosterone production. This is true in case of both, men and women. Men more often experience the aftereffects of such sleep apnoea by way of low libido or impotence or erectile dysfunction etc.

Another issue with sleeplessness is snoring, whenever you tend to sleep. This brings in a lot of discomfiture to your partner in bed and couples are having less satisfying married life too.

Reading Emotions:

Sleeplessness also brings another problem to the fore, that of having the cognitive disorder – your ability to recognize faces with sad, happy or angrier moods. In a study, the participants involved either sleep deprived or well-rested shown videos depicting sadness and funnier tones. The sleep-deprived participants found to be less pleased watching the amusing clips and less sad watching sad clips. Another study consisting of similar participants as the earlier one had to recognize emotions captured on photos. The drowsy group was finding it difficult to recognize the happy and angry faces of people in photos. This suggests that our sleep patterns affect our responsiveness to various situations and make us be aloof of people due to our unwarranted behavior.

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Getting Back to Sleep:

We have gone through enough information to show how being sleeplessness causes harm to our health in various ways. But for many people, getting sleep is very difficult. We should sleep for a minimum of 7 hours and if we can put in extra efforts, we can definitely make it.

  • Ensure you go to bed at the same time, daily. Similarly, waking up the same time every morning. Even on weekends.

  • Create a good sleeping environment. Try to sleep in a dark, quieter and cooler room. Right curtains on windows keep off any intruding light.

  • Avoid afternoon naps, which disrupt your sleep patterns very badly.

  • Being active and involved in some physical activity during the daytime will help get sound sleep.

  • Ensure the mattress and the pillows are comfortable. Pillows often are the cause of any sleep discomfort. Therefore, choosing the right pillow always helps with better sleep and rest.